The Treaty of Waitangi, 1840: A Levenshtein edit distance analysis of English language variants

Charles D. Bernholz, Love Memorial Library, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588[*]

Brian T. O’Grady, Love Memorial Library, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588[**]

Brian Pytlik Zillig, Love Memorial Library, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588[***]

Abstract

The British, in their worldwide program of colonization, consummated treaties with the indigenous peoples of North America, Africa, Asia, and the Far East and Pacific in a process to administer these acquisitions. The Treaty of Waitangi, 1840 is the primary document illustrating this behavior in New Zealand but, over time, variants of this important instrument have appeared. A text analysis of forty-three of these renditions was performed by applying Levenshtein’s edit distance algorithm.

“Treaties with indigenous peoples were not unusual in the history of British imperial expansion. Most have been shelved or forgotten…” (Orange, 1997, p. 1)

Over the centuries, British diplomatic and exploratory adventures have illuminated the endless quest of an island-bound people in need of alternative avenues of commerce and habitation. The tomes of the Index of British Treaties (Parry and Hopkins, 1970; Harris and Shepherd, 1991) supply an ample indication of this enthusiasm to consummate around the world appropriate transactions that would serve the needs of the Crown, the nation, and the people. A Collection of Treaties, Alliances, and Conventions, Relating to the Security, Commerce, and Navigation of the British Dominions, Made Since His Majesty’s Happy Accession to the Crown (1717) was an early compilation created to celebrate such endeavors.

More specifically, this international behavior has functioned as an underlying model for the transfer of one culture into the lives of another, frequently without regard to the receptiveness of the latter upon the arrival of the former. As part of this process, and as an important fundamental legal indicator of the way that the British approached such matters, formal treaties were developed between the aboriginal peoples of diverse regions and their new administrators. Thus, in North America, in Africa, in Asia, and in the Far East and Pacific, negotiations were concluded between representatives of his or her Majesty and the residents of the invaded lands. Meyer’s Special Chronological List, for the years 1648 to 1920, is particularly useful in the study of the plethora of instruments formed by the British — as well as by other nations — during this period. With specific regard to Britain, there are sections in the Special Chronological List allocated exclusively to colonial treaties with the “African Tribes and Polities;” “Polities of Arabia and the Persian Gulf;” “Indian Princely States, and Some Neighbouring Polities;” “Malay States, Borneo and Sarawak;” “Sulu;” “Island Polities of the Pacific Ocean;” and “North American Indians” (1984, p. v). Experiences gathered from dealings with the latter groups in North America later informed the Founding Fathers of the new United States and aided them, subsequent to the departure of the British, in the development of national hypotheses related to Indian affairs. Nevertheless, the multilingual atmosphere of almost all of these proceedings added both flavor and trepidation to future diplomatic relations. Kuner’s article (1991) examined the very real underlying shortfall adhering to such legally precarious deal making; history has shown that the Treaty of Waitangi has not been immune to such dangers.

A brief history of New Zealand before the Treaty of Waitangi

Abel Janszoon Tasman is credited with the discovery of Zeelandia Nova in 1642, two centuries before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (henceforth, Waitangi; Sharp, 1968; Ehrmann, 1999).[1] Various explorers, beginning with Magellan a hundred years earlier, had plied the Pacific and systematically located New Guinea and a variety of locales along the equator. Dutch ships investigated the west coast of Hollandia Nova — today’s Australia — during their voyages from the tip of South Africa to Java in the Far East. Excursions around Australia inched their way along the southern and then the eastern coasts. Tasman was less than ecstatic about what he saw upon his discovery and so the status of Zeelandia Nova as an attractive outpost for settlement subsided, along with diminishing Dutch maritime activities. As Sharp indicated (1968, pp. 341-348), the cartographers seemed to be the most interested parties in these findings, and enjoyed the chance to “fill in vacant spaces in their globes and maps.” Thus, “the first published indications of Tasman’s discoveries were in Dutch maps” and the famous Blaeu firm in Amsterdam — as the official cartographer to the East India Company — began to publish these new discoveries in map and globe formats.[2] These map specialists were ingenious in their deployment of known geographical data: “The Blaeu globe shows the parts of Tasmania, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, and other detached small islands much as one would expect them to be from official records and charts of the 1642-3 voyage, but the north coast of New Guinea is as in pre-Tasman maps based on Le Maire’s voyage [of 1616]” (p. 342). As time went on and exploration became more extensive, such geographic information was distributed elsewhere — see Wolter and Grim (1997, p. 264) for the first Italian printed map of New Zealand, produced in the year 1778. Captain James Cook, too, visited the area in the late 1760s and the early 1770s. His October 1769 arrival in New Zealand occurred along the east coast of North Island — “At 2 p. m. on Saturday, 7th, we saw land from the mast-head bearing WSW, which we stood directly for, and could but just see it from the deck by sunset” (Cook, 1897, p. 74) — and conducted a survey of the entire region.

Activities in the area increased and were expedited by facilities developed in Cook’s “New South Wales” — discovered by him in April 1770 — that served as the initial colony of Australia in the late 1780s. The growth of this new settlement required various supplies that were procured on the two islands of New Zealand, while later development was augmented by whalers from America and by others in need of a secure port. However, these activities became more unruly as traffic increased and the resident indigenous people, the Maori, were compelled to request assistance from the British government to quell those disturbances. Therefore, just a few years after the end of the global Seven Years War (1756-1763), New Zealand was in the possession of King George III, who had implemented an all-encompassing plan to handle new acquisitions in North America, and a series of fresh rules for addressing issues with indigenous peoples. These perceptions from the New World influenced activities in the Pacific.

The creation of a British penal colony[3] in New South Wales in 1788 increased overall events in this part of the world, supplemented by a special focus in New Zealand upon the commercial aspects enumerated by Cook: the business prospects of sealing (that began in 1792; Coutts, 1985, pp. 35-36), of whaling (fixed, shore-based facilities appeared after 1829; pp. 36-40), and of forestry (see Stokes, 1966, p. 442). Besides these activities, escaped convicts from the facilities in New South Wales fled to the two islands and these invaders generated their own variety of problems for the Maori. In the meantime, however, commercial outcomes in New Zealand were less than a success and this shortcoming attenuated Britain’s effort to acquire sovereignty over the islands. Ehrmann (1999, p. 465) remarked that the very slow development of New Zealand was the result of “the lack of natural resources,” and that “no trade was possible with the Maori, who were fishermen and warriors.” Only in the 1830s did pressure increase for a true colony, primarily as a response to the lawlessness that had developed from the influx of fugitives and mutineers. The Maori chiefs of the North Island, united in 1835, declared their own control over the islands as pronounced in their brief, four article Declaration of Independence of New Zealand (Facsimiles of the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Waitangi, 1877, p. 4). Further, the formation of the so-called United Tribes of New Zealand was built upon a wish to form a strong link with Britain and announced that “they [the Maori chiefs] entreat that he [King George III] will continue to be the parent of their infant State, and that he will become their Protector from all attempts upon its independence.” The British government was additionally stimulated by the formation in 1838 of the New Zealand Company, which desired to acquire Maori lands and oversee settlement (Marais, 1968, pp. 41-80). In combination with requests from well-established missionaries in New Zealand, who foresaw increasing turmoil over land issues, the British responded to the Maori’s bid for assistance by resending Captain William Hobson of the Royal Navy (Scholefield, 1940, pp. 395-399; Figure 1) to administer the islands. Hobson had been to Australia in August 1836; to New Zealand in early 1837 before returning to England at the beginning of 1838; and then back again to New Zealand at the end of January 1840 (Orange, 2004).

Figure 1. Captain William Hobson (1792-1842)

(Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library of Archives New Zealand)

The British arrival and treaty negotiations

In many ways, the exploration of New Zealand and the consummation of a treaty with the Maori offer a microcosm of British exploration that ceaselessly employed everything that had been learned previously. The issuance to Royal Navy personnel of “Instructions” — secret or otherwise — was a method developed by the British government to guarantee results. Voyages were initiated, but virtually all of the journey’s exploratory activities were pre-arranged to assure fruitful data collection during such a dangerous cruise. The Royal Society (Andrade, 1960, p. 3), with its new perspective that “systematic observation and experiment were the proper means of investigating natural happenings,” played a substantial role in such planning by furnishing to explorers lists of investigatory guidelines.[4] As one early instance of these services, Woodward’s “Brief instructions for making observations in all parts of the world” supplied twenty pages of itemized advice, beginning with the mandate to “Keep a journal of the ship’s course” (1698, p. 1), and ending with a catalog of materials to have on board that included “Spirit of Wine, Rum, or Brandy, to preserve the said Creatures, e.g., Insects, Lizards, Serpents, &c” (p. 18). In this compendium, economically relevant directions abounded — “Get an Account of their… Manufactures, Traffick, Commodities, Money, Weights and Measures” (p. 10) — in addition to others devoted to scientific fact-finding. With these preparations in hand, naval commanders were well equipped to acquire data during their journeys.

With regard to the possibility of any encounters with indigenous peoples, a portion of Woodward’s approach was to “Observe their Tempers, Genius’s, Inclinations, Virtues, and Vices” (p. 9). The Earl of Sandwich (Rodger, 2004), as First Lord of the Admiralty, used virtually the same phrase when he penned Captain James Cook’s secret instructions in 1768, as one-half of the orders conveyed to Cook for his passage to King George’s Island (today’s Tahiti) to observe the 1769 transit of Venus (Orchiston, 2004).[5] Subsequent to those celestial observations, Cook was instructed “to put to sea without loss of time, and carry into execution the Additional Instructions contained in the enclosed sealed packet” (p. 346). The anthropological proviso — “You are likewise to observe the genius, temper, disposition, and number of the natives, if there are any”– became part of the guidelines for Cook’s second voyage in 1772 (“You are likewise to observe the genius, temper, disposition, and number of the natives or inhabitants, if there be any”), and then again for the third voyage, commanding that Cook was “likewise to observe the genius, temper, disposition, and number of the natives and inhabitants, where you find any” (Perrin, 1928, pp. 348, 353, and 362, respectively). Thus, the contents of such Royal instructions may be seen to construct a foundation for British exploration and colonialism. For Hobson, such rules were extended further to demand fair treatment for such discovered peoples, and to apply this consideration with particular regard to the acquisition of their lands. Hobson knew that one of the safest ways to conform to these official instructions was to apply the same text to the appropriate portions of any treaty documents he might create; the text of Waitangi exhibited this behavior.

In August 1839 and during his final month of service as Colonial Secretary, the Marquess of Normanby (Davenport-Hines, 2004), confirmed the appointment of Hobson as “Her Majesty’s Consul at New Zealand;” the outcomes adhering to the annexation of New Zealand by New South Wales; and the installation of Hobson as Lieutenant-Governor of that new portion of the New South Wales colony (From the Marquis of Normanby to Captain Hobson, R. N., 1841/1970, pp. 37/85, 40/88, and 41/89, respectively). Normanby stated to Hobson that “[a]ll dealings with the aborigines for their lands must be conducted on the same principles of sincerity, justice, and good faith, as must govern your transactions with them for the recognition of Her Majesty’s sovereignty in the Islands. Nor is this all: they must not be permitted to enter into any contracts in which they might be ignorant and unintentional authors of injuries to themselves. You will not, for example, purchase from them any territory, the retention of which by them would be essential, or highly conducive, to their own comfort, safety, or subsistence. The acquisition of land by the Crown for the future settlement of British subjects must be confined to such districts as the natives can alienate, without distress or serious inconvenience to themselves” (p. 39/87).

Given the parameters of these orders, as Claudia Orange noted in her thesis on the Treaty of Waitangi (1984, p. 25), “the British and the Maori were no strangers to each other” at the 1840 signing of this instrument. Previous British international interactions had informed the government of efficacious ways to add to its global pursuits. Its contacts with the Maori, on the other side of the globe, were nothing more than a continuation of that previously productive process.[6] Ultimately, as Joseph (2004, p. 7) observed, the prevailing perception was that “[t]he conclusion of a treaty with Maori in 1840 served the then active humanitarian movement which promoted the trusteeship of native peoples as an obligation of colonial expansion. This movement extolled the need to protect native peoples against the worst effects of uncontrolled European contact” and that “[t]he humanitarian movement (and subsequently the settler community) espoused assimilation as a policy of British colonization. The Treaty laid the foundations for the implementation of policy that would assimilate Maori within the dominant European culture.” The result could be seen a century later: “[t]he period following the Second World War witnessed the urban drift of Maori from their ancestral lands into the cities, and a further diminution of their traditional ways” (p. 8). This policy was paralleled in the United States after this War by an equivalent program that was designed to terminate American Indian tribes as legal entities (Fixico, 1986).[7] Thus, the indigenous outcomes in New Zealand and the United States were nearly identical because the colonial histories of these two geographical locations were very similar. A pivotal essay collection on sovereignty and indigenous rights, edited by Renwick (1991), spoke directly to Waitangi within international contexts and cited strong similarities of British diplomatic behavior within North America and the Pacific. Sorrenson, in the very first entry of that suite, examined British colonial treaties as precedents for Waitangi, noting well the effect of the inertia of those past instruments on the creation of policy in New Zealand,[8] and that “there is very little in the Treaty, at least in its English text, that had not already been expressed in earlier treaties or statements of British colonial policy” (1991, p. 16; emphasis added).

The Treaty of Waitangi was thus part of another manifestation of British imperialism, born from the hypothesis within the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that the King may explicitly acquire indigenous lands through purchase or cession.[9] The territorial protection allocated to the Indians of North America by the Proclamation — “And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our interest, and the security of our colonies, that the several nations or tribes of Indians with whom we are connected, and who live under our protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the possession of such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are reserved to them. or any of them, as their hunting grounds” — was echoed almost eight decades later in Waitangi in Article 1 of the English language Waikato-Manukau variant wherein “[h]er Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs and tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries, and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession” (Treaty of Waitangi, 1840; see Appendix I).[10]

This declaration was immediately followed by a provision assigning to the Queen the ability to pre-empt all land sales: “but the chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf” (Treaty of Waitangi, 1840; emphasis added). Bourassa and Strong (2002; p. 232) succinctly presented the underlying case for preemption when they remarked that “[c]ontemporaneous notes show that it was the British intent for the Crown to control all land sales, buying cheaply from Maori and selling at a large mark-up to settlers in order to cover some of the costs of subsidizing emigration and land development. The right of preemption, incorporated in the English version of the Treaty of Waitangi, was interpreted by the British to bar any private sales or leases rather than to give the Crown the right of first refusal when Maori wished to sell. This proved a powerful weapon for control of land prices. Not only was there just one buyer — the Crown — but also the right of preemption was employed to goad Maori to sell their land.” Later, disputes of unconscionable consideration prevailed in New Zealand when “[a]rmed with the power of preemption, the agents of the Crown were able to drive hard bargains. Between 1844 and 1864, the Crown bought 91 percent of the 37 million acres of the South Island. One resale by the Crown during this period was of 30,000 acres near Canterbury for £15,000, more than the sum paid … for 34.5 million acres” (p. 233). This led to claims before the subsequent Waitangi Tribunal, formed in the last quarter of the twentieth century to correct such British behaviors: the so-called Ngai Tahu claim was resolved over a century later in 1998 and were proceedings in which “[t]he inquiry was extensive: over a period of 3½ years, 23 hearings were conducted and the Tribunal received 900 submissions and heard from 262 witnesses and 25 corporate bodies” (The Ngai Tahu Report 1991, 1991, p. 1).

The preemption parameter in Waitangi was completely misunderstood by the Maori and difficulties surfaced almost at once. Cowan, in his two-volume work on the Maori wars (1969a and b) that were instigated by disagreements over these land complaints, declared that “[t]here certainly is a remarkable similarity, in all but landscape, between the old frontier life in British North America and the United States and the broad features of the violent contact between European and Maori in our country.” These matching conditions, Cowan declared, were “irresistibly forced upon the mind. There was the same dual combat with wild nature and with untamed man; there was the necessity in each land of soldierly skill; the same display of all grades of human courage; much of the same tale of raid and foray, siege, trailhunting, and ambuscade” (1969a, p. 1). Indeed, the Waitangi Tribunal that heard the Ngai Tahu claim had an analogous panel in North America. The United States Indian Claims Commission was created in the late 1940s to address the taking of Indian lands (Rosenthal, 1990). As noted earlier regarding Waitangi, Joseph (2004, p. 7) mentioned that “[t]he Treaty laid the foundations for the implementation of policy that would assimilate Maori within the dominant European culture.” In actuality, the humanitarian movement of those times was used as nothing more than a ploy to acquire lands of indigenous peoples: today it was in New Zealand; tomorrow perhaps in West Africa where, under the guise of abolishing slavery, the fundamental goal to acquire control and/or lands was still in place and paramount.[11]

Note as well that collisions over hunting and gathering — reminiscent of the difficulties that arose in North America between the tribes and the governments — have been adjudicated by the Waitangi Tribunal. In part, this was implemented under the mandate to consider scenarios where Maori feel that they have been “prejudicially affected by legislation, policies, or practices of the Crown that were inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” (Stenson, 2004, p. 83). One exemplar of this mandate occurred in the Tribunal’s first decision — the Report of the Waitangi Tribunal on a claim by J. P. Hawke and others of Ngati Whatua concerning the fisheries regulations concluded in 1978 — that centered upon shellfish harvesting. Here, the central question concerned whether “Article (2) of the Treaty of Waitangi protect Mr. Joe Hawke (and hence the other claimants) from prosecution pursuant to the above Sections of the Fisheries (General) Regulations 1950,” i.e., whether the defendants’ gathering behavior was protected by the Waitangi Article that declared that “Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs and tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries, and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession” (Treaty of Waitangi, 1840; emphasis added). The Tribunal determined that the entitlement was unsubstantiated and made no recommendation whatsoever.[12]

The Treaty of Waitangi, 1840

Beside the enduring impediments induced by their various worldwide political and psychological escapades during the colonial period, many British diplomatic experiences in North America, and later in regions like New Zealand, were confounded by language issues. Negotiating an exchange of, say, animal pelts for hard goods, let alone formulating a formal treaty or agreement that effortlessly dispossessed the local populations of their traditional homes, pivoted upon clear language, especially if there was a desire for such trade to continue or for further settlement to be conducted without confrontation. The dynamics of an oral culture worked well within an indigenous group, but this social state rarely assisted invaders who were required frequently to employ traders who had somehow acquired local tongues. The French voyageurs, for example, worked, lived, and married among the tribes of North America. Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trader, was one such adventurer who solved language problems during the Lewis and Clark Expedition; he is now remembered better as the husband of Sacagawea (Nelson, 2003). In New Zealand, a number of missionaries had spent considerable time in the Islands and had acquired language skills that then assisted Hobson to conclude his orders, especially with regard to the required translation into Maori of his treaty parameters. McKenzie (1985, p. 9) opened his volume on the oral culture of the Maori by stating that “[i]n New Zealand the twenty years or so immediately preceding 1840 span the movement from orality, through manuscript literacy, to the introduction of printing.” A prototypic printing specimen, expedited in part by the development in 1830 of a fixed alphabet for Maori, was William Colenso’s first New Testament in that language, produced in 1837 for the Church Mission Society.[13]

The process of acquiring final signatures for Waitangi was restricted therefore in two manners. First, Captain Hobson believed that the only legal text of an appropriate treaty was one based on a translation into Maori of the specifications that he and other British administrators had fashioned promptly after his arrival in New Zealand.[14] The vast territory to be visited required multiple copies of the final instrument; in total, there were nine acknowledged copies used at various sites throughout the islands during these negotiations. Only one rendition, however, was written in English, the so-called Waikato-Manukau Sheet. Archives New Zealand today provides images of all these materials. Meeting sites throughout the North Island were employed between February through July 1840, while the South Island was visited just a half dozen times during May and June. Endorsements were frequently acquired by using Maori-speaking missionaries to present the document; many had participated in the original creation of the texts (see plate 36 in McKinnon [1997] for a map of “Treaty signatures gathered in 1840”). For the Waikato-Manukau Sheet excursion, official parties were sent to each of the sites and marks were thereby secured at Port Waikato on 11 April 1840 and at Manukau on the 24th (Doutré, 2005, p. 126).[15]

The difficulty that has clung to this specific Waikato-Manukau rendition is that it appears to have been created from drafts used by Hobson and others to assemble the final English wording that was the source of the Maori translation. This final Maori product has served as the “official” version of the transaction ever since 1840. Unfortunately, the composite English copy was unveiled at a signing ceremony alongside a Maori text printed for such purposes by William Colenso, and served to provide additional signature space for all those participating. As a result, all Maori chiefs listened in their own language to the Waitangi presentation at Port Waikato and at Manukau and several signed that specific text, while the remaining thirty-nine chiefs affixed their marks to the English composition that they neither had heard nor would have understood.

The Littlewood treaty

The history of the Treaty of Waitangi has been clouded, in part, by the discovery in 1989 of a document that appeared to be related to — and alleged to be the direct source of — the official text of Waitangi (Doutré, 2005). This document (here, Littlewood) was originally in the possession of a New Zealand family of the same name and now held at Archives New Zealand in Wellington. It has been analyzed extensively, especially since its disclosure fueled an ongoing controversy pertinent to the Maori and the English treaty texts.[16] Previous studies of Maori renditions, used throughout the two islands during the agreement acquisition phase in 1840, have illuminated marked divergences between those numerous Maori, and the single English instrument, texts employed in the Auckland area.[17] Ross (1972) and Orange (1984 and 1997), for example, made abundant use of old materials to consider opportunities for misunderstandings between the perception of the Maori and that of the British.[18] Orange (1984, p. 11; emphasis added) succinctly declared the difficulty: “[o]nly thirty-nine chiefs signed this treaty in the English language… Most signed a treaty in the Maori language which was deemed to convey the meaning of the English version. This it failed to do, and the treaty negotiations did not clarify the differences. As a result, Maori and European understandings of the agreement of 1840 varied greatly and have continued to diverge.” The 1975 creation of the Waitangi Tribunal was instructed by §5(2) Functions of Tribunal, in the Statutes of New Zealand, that “[i]n exercising any of its functions under this section the Tribunal shall have regard to the two texts of the Treaty set out in the First Schedule to this Act and, for the purposes of this Act, shall have exclusive authority to determine the meaning and effect of the Treaty as embodied in the two texts and to decide issues raised by the differences between them” (An act to provide for the observance, and confirmation, of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by establishing a Tribunal to make recommendations on claims relating to the practical application of the Treaty and to determine whether certain matters are inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty, 1975, p. 827; emphasis added). The Act1 variant in this study is the English text taken from that First Schedule.

Recently, Parkinson’s (2006) consideration of Littlewood, and Loveridge’s (2006) inquiry into the conclusions reached by both Doutré and Parkinson, suggest that Littlewood is a back-translation of the 1840 Maori treaty text for Waitangi, instead of the “long-lost final English draft” and basis of the latter, as proposed by Doutré (2005, p. 19). It is also interesting to note in a text analysis of Waitangi that the Littlewood variants presented by Doutré (2005, p. 8) and by Parkinson (2006, pp. 89-90) “both contain errors and minor omissions” and thus induced Loveridge to create an alternative account of that document for his own investigation (2006, p. 5, n. 19).[19]

In the New Zealand Court of Appeal case New Zealand Maori Council v. Attorney-General (1987), and with references to the array of Waitangi renderings, the Court concluded that “[t]here were drafts and copies and there are some differences. What is much more important and of continuing significance, the Maori language text signed at Waitangi is not an exact translation of the original English language text approved by Hobson.” At the same time, however, the decision proposed that “[p]erhaps too much has at times been made of some of these differences and too little emphasis given to the positive and enduring role of the Treaty. Whatever legal route is followed the Treaty must be interpreted according to principles suitable to its particular character. Its history, its form and its place in our social order clearly require a broad interpretation and one which recognises that the Treaty must be capable of adaptation to new and changing circumstances as they arise” (p. 673).

Study rationale

Even though the emergence of Littlewood may be disruptive for the collective historical perceptions of the peoples of New Zealand, it is nevertheless an interesting diplomatic situation that exposes yet again the difficulties faced during all such consular relations in which supporting documents are formed; provenance just amplifies the number of questions to address. Indeed, multiple copies of any accord were part and parcel of such transactions and one need only peruse Jones’s table of “Indian treaties with Britain and British colonies” (1988, pp. 190-194) to understand the full demonstration of British imperialism among indigenous peoples in North America. While the 1621 text of the Conference and Agreement between Plymouth Colony and Massasoit, Wampanoag Sachem (2003) furnishes one of the earliest attempts to negotiate with American Indians, there are strong parallels between this North American encounter and the one with the Maori two centuries later. Brown (1991) and Fisher (1991), respectively, substantiated this position by contributing assessments to Renwick’s Waitangi review on the evolution of these processes with American and Canadian Indians. Renwick, in turn, concluded his volume with the statement that “[t]he unique feature of British policy for New Zealand was set out in great detail in Lord Normanby’s instructions to Captain Hobson. It rested on the supposition that, despite the discreditable record of Europeans in other parts of the globe, the lion could be made to lie down with the lamb. British policy in New Zealand would rest on two cardinal principles: Maori rights would be protected and settlers would be granted the principle of self-government. But Maori rights were to have priority, self-governing instructions would be deferred, and the Crown, through the office of the governor, would stand between the races, reconciling interests that might be in conflict” (1991, p. 207).

This text analysis investigation of variants of Waitangi in English was developed to study the series of instruments of the currently acknowledged examples of this transaction, beginning with the Waikato-Manukau rendition from April 1840 and subsequently distributed as government or private publications. The assessment conducted here may be replicated for the family of Maori variants by those familiar with that language, just as Sir Apirana Ngata’s (1922/1950, p. 7) carefully studied Maori instances of the treaty led to the conclusion that “the Maori version was not a good translation of the English terms in the Treaty.”[20]

Levenshtein edit distance algorithm

There exists an effective tool with which to address these kinds of text scenarios. Several decades ago, Vladimir Levenshtein proposed an algorithm to assess information transfer, where the three operations of deletion, insertion, and substitution may be engaged to correct errors contained in a transmitted string (Levenshtein, 1966). As a model of this procedure, Soukoreff and MacKenzie (2001) used the two string models quick brown fox and quixck brwn fox as prototypic examples of presented and transcribed texts in such an assessment. While as many as a half dozen individual errors may be present in this comparison — established by the failure of the xck br substring to accurately convey the initial ck bro material — the two most likely errors were the insertion of the character x and the omission of the character o. These two discrepancies yielded a computed Levenshtein’s edit distance (LED) score of 2 for this test, or for the total number of remedial operations required to first delete the x from the xck constituent, and then to accomplish the insertion of the o in the br fragment. Identical strings — here, quick brown fox and quick brown fox — would require no corrective procedures and would thereby lead to a computed LED score of zero. Further, any observed LED score must be less than or equal to the maximum length of the two test strings, since replacing an entirely missing sequence with one of length n would require no more than n operations. Such a state exists when none of the transmitted material is received to be transcribed, as portrayed by the two strings quick brown fox and _____ _____ ___. The Levenshtein algorithm is very adaptable and has served in many diverse applications, including vehicle travel time measurement scenarios (Takahashi and Izumi, 2006); the development of ontologies (Ginsca and Iftene, 2010); the foundation of spell checking (Kukich, 1992); and for plagiarism software (Zini, Fabbri, Moneglia, and Panunzi, 2006). However, in text analyses as reported here, these LED scores are particularly intuitive, since any string comparison that supports an LED of zero means complete similarity between the elements in question, while any non-zero returned value immediately identifies disparities and the magnitude of such differences.

The application of these LED calculations may be made at two levels. First, they may be computed at the token or element level. Two relevant examples are apparent in the test involving the terms dog and dig with its LED score of 1, and in the cumulative score of 14 that is generated in an evaluation of just the first line of Walt Whitman’s 1855 original and of his later 1891 revision of I Sing the Body Electric, i.e., for an assessment that evaluates the variability between “The bodies of men and women engirth me and I engirth them“ and “The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them.” In this last scenario, the italicized words mark the four pairs of tokens that induce that LED score of 14 across these twelve elements.

Ascertaining disparities between entire documents is a second option with this tool. In theory, this approach might facilitate an inspection of various edition collections, or of a collation of statutes, or of similar ensembles. Observed changes in the computed cumulative LED amount found in text exemplars within such comparisons may then stimulate pertinent hypotheses regarding the provenance of those test materials. Direct quantification of differences — and then from the imposed endeavors to correct such dissimilarities — is therefore possible with Levenshtein’s metric.

A note on the creation of test pairs

The employed choice of technology for text version comparisons reflected the desire that routines developed might later serve as a sharable non-proprietary tool. To that end, two standards promulgated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) were used: the Extensible Markup Language (XML), and the Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT).[21] The former represents a data container for highly structured information; the latter is a functional programming language for XML and for other structured content. A third standard, Unicode, was employed to ensure an XML-compliant interoperable character set for input and output data.[22]

The comparison tool was constructed to take as input an Excel spreadsheet exported into a standard, non-proprietary, comma-separated-values (CSV) format that is easily readable by XSLT. This CSV file must employ the Unicode character set. Arrangement of the spreadsheet is critical, and assumes that the data consist of one column per text, with one row per word, and that these rows are aligned according to variances in the corpus texts. The columns must be ordered chronologically from oldest to newest.

The tool read the CSV file and identified the columns, rows, and contents of individual cells. It then compared every unique pairing of texts. For a corpus of 43 discrete versions, there were n(n-1)/2 or 903 such paired text comparisons. Finally, a grid-shaped table structure was constructed in XML containing the results of the Levenshtein differencing calculations and these were used to populate summary Table II (Download Excel File) discussed below.[23]

Variants of the Treaty of Waitangi, 1840

The Treaty of Waitangi was released in many written formats, ranging from official reports submitted by Hobson himself and the single version in English used as a supplemental signature page at the Waikato-Manukau meetings, to texts used for New Zealand legislation, for the academic and popular press, and for the World Wide Web. The names of the first four “standard” presentations are underlined in the Tables, and those of the thirty-nine test texts are not marked in this manner:

    Standard texts (N = 4)

  • Copies or extracts of despatches from the Governor of New South Wales bearing the date the 9th and 19th days of February 1840, containing the reports of Captain Hobson, R.N., of his proceedings on his arrival at New Zealand; together with copy of reply of the Secretary of State thereto (1840/1970, pp. 10-11/46-47) — Copy of despatch from Governor Sir George Gipps to Lord John Russell, 19 February 1840: Enclosure No. 3, Hobson to Gipps letter of 5/6 February 1840 — [Hobson1];
  • Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to New Zealand — In continuation of the papers presented to the House of Commons on the 14th April 1840, in pursuance of Address 8th April (1841/1970, p. 9/131) — Copy of despatch from Governor Sir George Gipps to Lord John Russell, 19 February 1840: Enclosure No. 3, Hobson to Gipps letter of 5/6 February 1840 — [Hobson2];
  • Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to New Zealand — In continuation of the papers presented to the House of Commons on the 14th April 1840, in pursuance of Address 8th April (1841/1970, p. 98-99/220-221) — Copy of despatch from Governor Hobson to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 15 October 1840: Enclosure — [Hobson3]; and
  • Treaty of Waitangi (1840) — the Waikato-Manukau English text held by Archives New Zealand — [Waikato-Manukau];

    Test texts (N = 39)

  • A Complete Collection of the Treaties and Conventions, and Reciprocals Regulations, at Present Subsisting Between Great Britain and Foreign Powers, and of the Laws, Decrees, and Orders in Council, Concerning the Same; So Far as They Relate to Commerce and Navigation, to the Repression and Abolition of the Slave Trade; and to the Privileges and Interests of the Subjects of the High Contracting Parties, vol. 6 (Hertslet, 1845, pp. 579-581) — [Hertslet1];
  • British and Foreign State Papers: 1840-1841, vol. 29 (1857, pp. 1111-1112) — [State];
  • Facsimiles of the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Waitangi (1877, pp. 6-7) — [Facsimiles];
  • William Webster (1884, pp. 6-7) — [Webster];
  • In the Senate of the United States (1887, p. 17) — [Senate1];
  • The Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand, February 5 and 6, 1840: Being a Faithful and Circumstantial, though Brief, Narration of Events which Happened on that Memorable Occasion; with Copies of the Treaty in English and Maori, and of the Three Early Proclamations Respecting the Founding of the Colony (Colenso, 1890, pp. 38-39) — [Authentic];
  • In the Senate of the United States (1892, p. 121) — [Senate2];
  • A Complete Collection of the Treaties and Conventions, and Reciprocals Regulations, at Present Subsisting Between Great Britain and Foreign Powers, and of the Laws, Decrees, and Orders in Council, Concerning the Same; So Far as They Relate to Commerce and Navigation, to the Repression and Abolition of the Slave Trade; and to the Privileges and Interests of the Subjects of the High Contracting Parties, vol. 6 (Hertslet, 1898, pp. 579-581) — [Hertslet2];
  • The Treaty of Waitangi, or How New Zealand Became a British Colony (Buick, 1914, pp. 99-100) — [Buick];
  • An act to provide for the commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (1960, pp. 345-346) — [Day1];
  • The Consolidated Treaty Series: Volume 89, 1839-1840 (Parry, 1969b, pp. 474-475) — [Parry];
  • Speeches and Documents on New Zealand History (McIntyre and Gardner, 1971, pp. 115-117) — [Speeches];
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi: Texts and translations (Ross, 1972, pp. 156-157) — [Ross];
  • An act to make provision for the observance of the 6th day of February in each year as a public holiday to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (1973, pp. 386-387) — [Day2];
  • An act to provide for the observance, and confirmation, of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi by establishing a Tribunal to make recommendations on claims relating to the practical application of the Treaty and to determine whether certain matters are inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty (1975, pp. 830-831) — [Act1];
  • The Covenant of Kohimarama: A ratification of the Treaty of Waitangi (Orange, 1980, p. 81-82) — [Orange1];
  • Bateman New Zealand Encyclopedia (1984, pp. 551-552) — [Bateman];
  • The Treaty of Waitangi: A Study of its Making, Interpretation and Role in New Zealand History (Orange, 1984, pp. 644-645) — [Thesis];
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of New Zealand (1986, p. 1252) — [Illustrated];
  • New Zealand Maori Council v. Attorney-General (1987, pp. 65-67) — [Attorney1];
  • Waitangi: Maori and Pakeha Perspectives of the Treaty of Waitangi (Kawharu, 1989, pp. 316-318) — [Kawharu];
  • The treaty in Maori history (Durie, 1991, pp. 156-169) — [Durie];
  • The Treaty of Waitangi (Orange, 1997, pp. 258-259) — [Orange2] — the “official” version;
  • The Treaty of Waitangi (Orange, 1997, pp. 262-263) — [Orange3] — the new translation ordered in 1869 by the Legislative Council;
  • Te Mana Te Kawanatanga: The Politics of Maori Self-Determination (Durie, 1998, pp. 249-250) — [Maori];
  • The Ngai Tahu Report, 1991, vol. 3 (1998, pp. 1072-1073) — [Report];
  • La llengua Maori en el marc de la colonització (Puigdomènech i Armengod and Munich i Gasa, 2001, pp. 75-77) — [Llengua];
  • New Zealand Maori Council v. Attorney-General (2002, pp. 541-542) — [Attorney2];
  • The Treaty: Every New Zealander’s Guide to the Treaty of Waitangi (Stenson, 2004, pp. 14-15) — [Stenson];
  • The Treaty of Waitangi: A text for the performance of nation (Joseph, 2004, pp. 2-3) — [Joseph];[24]
  • The “Royal style” composite of Hobson’s secretary, James Stuart Freeman (Doutré, 2005, pp. 107-109) — [Composite];
  • Waitangi Revisited: Perspectives on the Treaty of Waitangi (Belgrave, Kawharu, and Williams, 2005, pp. 389-390) — [Belgrave];
  • Constitutions of the Countries of the World: New Zealand — Original treaty text (Wolfram and Grote, 2007, pp. 1-2) — [Original];
  • Constitutions of the Countries of the World: New Zealand — 1975 First Schedule treaty text (Wolfram and Grote, 2007, pp. 31-32) — [Schedule];
  • Resistance: An Indigenous Response to Neoliberalism (Bargh, 2007, pp. 184-187) — [Resistance];
  • The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand’s Law and Constitution (Palmer, 2008, pp. 367-368) — [Palmer];
  • Read the treaty (2012) — [Online];
  • English version of the Treaty of Waitangi (2012) — [Version]; and
  • Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 (2012, pp. 36-37) — [Act2].

Initial observations and Levenshtein testing results

Levenshtein edit distance (LED) comparisons were calculated between the pairs of Waitangi elements formed by the 43 variants in Table I (Download Excel File). All 903 possible combinations of renditions were tested, even when it was readily apparent that texts subsequent to Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 could not have been direct copies of any of that trio of American documents. The line numbers in Table I (Download Excel File) are highlighted to reflect those 241 tokens that were different in one or more contrasts. Thus, the terms her and majesty (line number 2-3) were unchanged across comparisons, whereas the element order of victoria and queen (line number 4-5) did vary, e.g. see the difference between Hobson1 and Hobson2, and especially between Hobson1 and Webster. This error count suggests that fully 41% (= 241/588) of all tokens were misrepresented at least once in this array of documents.

The text data in Table I (Download Excel File), in general, are quite uniform, save for the Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 examples. These three aberrant variants were taken from entries in the United States Congressional Serial Set, which illuminate an action brought before the House of Representatives in 1858. The intent of this request was that “the petition of William Webster and the accompanying papers be transmitted to the Executive Department, with the request that the President take such steps as in his opinion may be proper and in accordance with international law, to secure to the said William Webster a final settlement and adjustment of his claim against the Government of Great Britain in relation to the sequestration of the lands and property in New Zealand claimed by said William Webster, an American citizen, by purchase of the native chiefs of that country before its cession to and occupation by the Government of Great Britain” (William Webster, 1880, p. 1).[25] Webster had arrived in New Zealand in 1835 and had purchased a total of 500,000 acres for £15,627 that was regained by the British as part of their administrative processes subsequent to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and as announced by Hobson in January 1840 — “Her Majesty does not deem it expedient to recognize any titles to land in New Zealand which are not derived from or confirmed by her Majesty as aforesaid” (In the Senate of the United States, 1887, p. 16; emphasis original). Specifically, Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 were a reiteration of a 1880 request for relief from the House of Representatives that included the text of Waitangi as an enclosure (William Webster, 1884, pp. 6-7), and two ensuing reports from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (In the Senate of the United States, 1887, p. 17 and In the Senate of the United States, 1892, p. 121, respectively). In each case, the same 161 of the 218 original Preamble tokens (73.9%) of Waitangi were omitted (see line number 1-218 of Table I (Download Excel File)),[26] strongly suggesting that the Webster text was simply re-copied into the two Senate reports versions, Senate1 and Senate2. The Levenshtein results corroborated this: there were no differences between Webster and Senate1, and just two errors (with a cumulative byte value of 4) at line number 5 and 387 for the contrasts of Webster-Senate2 and Senate1-Senate2. These disparities were the elements &c rather than etc, and pre-emption instead of prëemption with the diaeresis diacritic, respectively. Thus, the two errors occurred as part of the second copying sequence, i.e., during the production of Senate2. Further, Senate1 made the declaration regarding Waitangi that “[a] copy is here annexed as Inclosure No. 2½” (In the Senate of the United States, 1887, p. 13). The Senate2 document restated this remark five years later (In the Senate of the United States, 1892, p. 117), as part of the reproduction of relevant Webster case materials. What was pertinent to Congressional members was the content of the treaty articles, and not that of the entire Waitangi document in all three of these House and Senate efforts. This focus was demonstrated in Senate2 where a nineteen line summary of the parameters of the three Waitangi articles was exhibited (In the Senate of the United States, 1892, p. 5). These were the critical data for Webster’s claim; the treaty’s preamble contained insignificant information for the case and was thus eliminated from consideration in the Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 renditions.

The resulting error counts and LED scores for all 903 pairs of tests are presented in Table II (Download Excel File). As one measure of the observed errors, there were 36,304 total errors (= 40.20) generating a cumulative LED of 177,376 (= 196.57), or 4.89 bytes per error. Removing the comparisons for the Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 variants reduced these totals in the remaining 780 tests to 12,389 total errors ( = 15.88) and 60,896 cumulative LED (= 78.07), respectively. The number of byes per error remained the same at 4.90 for this smaller family of inquiries, and employing its mean error rate, these Levenshtein tests detected divergences in 2.7% (= 15.88/588) of the element pairs, instead of the 6.8% (= 40.20/588) found when the purposely truncated Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 items were assessed alongside complete renditions. The number of unique faults was 241 and these are highlighted in the first column of Table I (Download Excel File).

The two categories of variants — comprising the so-called four “standard” and the thirty-nine “test” texts — offer their own separate questions, based on hypotheses that attempt to parallel the production of these documents. In the standard array, three examples were derived from Hobson’s communications with British officials, i.e., Hobson1, Hobson2, and Hobson3, while the fourth one (Waikato-Manukau) served as the lone English treaty variant in 1840 and serves today in New Zealand as the legally recognized English instrument. Clearly, it might be expected that Waikato-Manukau was closely related to Hobson’s correspondence, given that signatures were affixed to this rendition at Port Waikato on 11 April 1840 and at Manukau on the 24th (Doutré, 2005, p. 126). However, there is Doutré’s remark that Waikato-Manukau was a “royal style” composite document (2005, pp. 107-109; Composite in this analysis), so the challenge revolves around whether Waikato-Manukau was deviant from the Hobson series.[27] The Levenshtein results for the three comparisons of Hobson1-Waikato-Manukau (Nerrors = 21, cumulative LED = 106); Hobson2-Waikato-Manukau (Nerrors = 21, cumulative LED = 108); and Hobson3-Waikato-Manukau (Nerrors = 26, cumulative LED = 134) advise that all three contrasts are similar but that the major mistake is the term independent in Hobson1 that is replaced by the token individual in the phrase in Hobson2, Hobson3, and Waikato-Manukau with the statement which the said Confederation or independent Chiefs respectively exercise or possess (see line number 274 in Table I (Download Excel File)). However, this single element observation — independent — promptly yields the conclusion that Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 were taken from Hobson1 because there are no other variants with that independent term that could have been used to create those three Serial Set passages. Further, and in the same Waitangi sentence, the exclusion from Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 of the nine term phrase or may be supposed to exercise or to possess (line number 280-288) solidifies the relationship among these three American renditions. Other exclusions induce added confidence in these considerations: see the missing tokens and to authorize at line number 167-169; the shared adjustment at line number 176-177 that revised the phrase in her Majesty’s Royal Navy into in the [blank] Royal Navy; the loss of Hobson’s lieutenant governor title at line number 468-469; the absence of the two terms Victoria in from line number 490-491; and the whereof vs. of which exchanges at line number 544-545. The exclusion of the two elements Victoria in strongly suggests that Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 could have been derived only from Hobson1, just as does the deployment of the terms independent and whereof in only Hobson1 and the Serial Set trio (see line number 274 and 544 of Table I (Download Excel File)).

Hobson3 transposed Her Majesty Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from Hobson1 and Hobson2 into Her Majesty Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (line number 2-14), but there are other issues with this three-part Hobson series. The “printer’s number” (Ford and Ford, 1972, p. 23) placed at the bottom of the pages of these documents shows that Hobson1 was published in 1840 as part of sessional document number 560, while Hobson2 and Hobson3 were both printed the following year in sessional document number 311. While it is reasonable to expect the availability of the same source materials during the setting of the latter two instruments — i.e., that the editors and/or printers would have been able to use the same correspondence text (either original or reproduced) to create their passages for sessional document number 311 — the LED scores substantiate this hypothesis by revealing that the contrast between Hobson1 and Hobson3 was more disparate than the test between Hobson2 and Hobson3 (Nerrors = 20 and cumulative LED = 106 vs. Nerrors = 12 and cumulative LED = 68, respectively). Hobson1 and Hobson2 contained correspondence sets detailing Hobson’s communications with Governor Sir George Gipps that were collected and sent by the latter to Lord John Russell. The difficulty arises, however, when the LED scores are evaluated for the Hobson1-Hobson2 test. Five out of the eight observed errors (and 29 of the 38 bytes of disparity) recorded in Table II (Download Excel File) for this pair are based not on the usual spelling differences found across variants but rather from tokens absent from Hobson1. Thus, the initial “standard” rendition of WaitangiHobson1 — promptly conveyed a text suffering from exclusion difficulties that had been induced by the editors and/or printers during that publication’s creation. These omitted elements at line number 465, 490, 491, 584, and 585 of Table I (Download Excel File) then suddenly emerged the following year in both Hobson2 and Hobson3.[28]

Based on these observations, the four treaty compilations Hertslet1, State, Hertslet2, and Parry either directly or indirectly employed Hobson3 as their source. The LED findings for comparisons between the three Hobson examples and the four treaty collections confirm this: in each instance, the number of errors and the cumulative LED scores were less when the Hertslet1, State, Hertslet2, and Parry texts were matched with Hobson3. In all cases, the error count fell to 17 tokens and a cumulative byte difference of 82. The question of direct or indirect connections between Hobson3 and Hertslet1, State, Hertslet2, and Parry may be answered in part by the presentation of the materials themselves:

  • The four tokens Waitangi 5th February 1840 appear at line number 461-464 in these latter four collation variants only;
  • The four tokens signatures of the chiefs appear at line number 585-588 in these as well;
  • Table II (Download Excel File) signals that Hertslet1 most closely follows Hobson3 (i.e., for Hobson3-Hertslet1, Nerrors = 17 and cumulative error = 82);
  • Parry indicates that “[t]his treaty, printed also in Hertslet’s Commercial Treaties, vol. VI, p. 579, is taken here from British and Foreign State Papers, vol. XXIX, p. 111…” (Parry, 1969b, p. 473), and that this similarity was confirmed by the zero error rate in Table II (Download Excel File) for Hertslet1-State and State-Parry; and
  • Hertslet1 was “Reprinted in 1898” as Hertslet2 (1898, p. i); the LED results for this pair also returned a zero error rate to confirm that the reprinting was done without difficulty.

The rectangularization mandated by the testing protocol employed in this study of Waitangi furnished an immediate benefit through a purely visual perspective of these aligned documents. Gaps in some renditions, relative to another version(s), can promptly signal differences among texts and, in many cases, these initial observations may then be further quantified and more carefully compared. In the fewest words, the formality of rectangularization and the software outputs tell investigators where to look for anomalies.

Thus, while the visual aspects of the string Waitangi 5th February 1840 within Table I (Download Excel File), and the Levenshtein results from their contrasts, establish that Hertslet1, State, Hertslet2, and Parry are identical (see the Hertslet1-State, Hertslet1-Hertslet2, Hertslet1-Parry, State-Hertslet2, State-Parry, and Hertslet2-Parry data entries in Table II (Download Excel File)), supplemental observations make more apparent other variant pairings. One exemplar of this effect would be the consideration of the signing date phrase — Done at Waitangi this 6th day of February in the year of Our Lord 1840 — at line number 561-580. That series of elements occurred in ten renditions that begin with Hobson1, while the thirty-two other versions employed both sixth and one thousand eight hundred and forty as the appropriate tokens (Buick has no such date indication). Thus, one may postulate from this lone reflection that Hobson1, Hobson2, Hobson3, Hertslet1, State, Webster, Senate1, Senate2, Hertslet2, and Parry form a single family of related alternatives of Waitangi, while the others form their own association. The very verbosity of the clause one thousand eight hundred and forty would most assuredly be truncated to 1840 if that decision was made exclusively by print setters of these instruments. Instead, the professional reproduction skills of most of these printers seem quite evident, and so this differentiation between the styles used to present the instrument’s current year helps decipher provenance in later examinations such as this one.

Nevertheless, there is an immediate advantage in a Levenshtein analysis for data that contain such strings as a signing date that potentially may help divide a series of instruments into two camps. First, the LED quantitative differences between 1840 and one thousand eight hundred and forty means that any contrast pair with this replacement text dissimilarity has a known offset of six errors amounting to 32 bytes of inconsistency. This then permits a clearer understanding of the inconsistency between, say, Waikato-Manukau and Hertslet1. Table II (Download Excel File) shows that there are 33 token differences totaling 176 bytes between these two variants, with Hertslet1 exhibiting the 1840 date. The known offset quantities for the date phrases mean that there are only 27 errors subtending 144 bytes in a side-by-side test of the remaining tokens of these two Waitangi statements, a noise reduction of 18% (= 6/33). Identifying other such style options means that a truer error estimate may be developed through the elimination of further offsets. Here, the presence of the Waitangi 5th February 1840 incursion at line number 461-464 of Hertslet1, State, Hertslet2, and Parry in Table I (Download Excel File) instantly contributed 4 tokens and 23 bytes to their LED scores with other variants that did not possess these few faults. These alternative scenarios include the Waikato-Manukau vs. Hertslet1 comparison that may be reconsidered, absent these two known offsets, to yield a diminished Nerrors score of 33 — 6 — 4 or 23, and a reduced cumulative edit distance value of 121 bytes (= 176 — 32 — 23), or a 30% reduction in noise.

To reveal better these two signing date clans, the column names for the first or Hobson1 family are colored green in Tables I (Download Excel File) and II (Download Excel File), while the second series of texts is marked in orange. Buick is marked in yellow to identify it as a date-less model. This proposed breakout is critical, though, for if these hypothesized relationships are correct, then forty-two renditions of the Waitangi produced between 1840 and 2012 follow just two paths emanating either from Captain Hobson’s reports to the British Government, or from the controversial “royal style” English rendering of Waikato-Manukau. Echoing this induced separation in the Tables, the computed Levenshtein scores also confirm these two associations. The test results in Table II (Download Excel File) involving Hobson1, Hobson2, Hobson3, Hertslet1, State, Webster, Senate1, Senate2, Hertslet2, and Parry — i.e., those documents with Done at Waitangi this 6th day of February in the year of Our Lord 1840 on line number 561-580 — all have minimum Nerror and cumulative LED results when those comparisons encompass Hobson1, Hobson2, or Hobson3 as their “standard” file, instead of when the Waikato-Manukau rendering is used. Conversely, combinations of Waikato-Manukau, as the reference text, with the remaining variants sharing the statement Done at Waitangi this sixth day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty on line number 561-580 always generated a smaller number of errors than if the Hobson1, Hobson2, or Hobson3 with the 6th and 1840 tokens had served as the comparison file.

Beyond the final signing date, there are text entries added to twenty variants that succinctly remarked upon the sequence of signatures found in the original instrument.[29] In some cases, the statement is brief (512 signatures in line number 584-585 of Hobson2 and Hobson3 in Table I (Download Excel File)); long (here follow the 512 signatures, dates, and locations in line number 581-588 of Maori and Llengua); or very similar (signatures of the chiefs in line number 585-588 of Hertslet1, State, Hertslet2, and Parry, or signatures, dates, etc. in line number 585-587 of Day1, Day2, Act1, Attorney1, Report, Attorney2, Joseph, Belgrave, Schedule, Palmer, Version, and Act2). The presence of this signature statement in all four treaty compilations, i.e., in Hertslet1, State, Hertslet2, and Parry, is a mirror image of their Waitangi 5th February 1840 incursion at line number 461-464. Further, the concise signatures, dates, etc. affirmation in line number 585-587 of Day1, Day2, Act1, Attorney1, Report, Attorney2, Joseph, Belgrave, Schedule, Palmer, Version, and Act2 is a pertinent reminder that applications of the law tend to cite well established materials. In these cases, the source is the Day1 rendition in this study, An act to provide for the commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi from 1960. The four 512 signatures examples — declared in either the brief or the extended manner — partition Hobson2, Hobson3, Maori, and Llengua into a single collection. Llengua most closely approximates the text found in Maori (the Maori-Llengua contrast in Table II (Download Excel File) has Nerrors = 5 and cumulative LED = 25), even if Llengua was a journal article published in Catalan that used the English Waitangi text.[30]

Other deviations

The absence of virtually the entire preamble from Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 clouds the highlighting of the line number column in Table I (Download Excel File), but this exclusion certainly was purposely done by the congressional printers (even at the cost of Victoria’s title), as shown by the use of &c in Webster and Senate1, and of etc in Senate2 at line number 5. Here, line number 6 through 160, or over 26% of all elements (= 155/588), are tinted to show this bulk exclusion. In addition, roughly another dozen and one-half of the 241 marked lines are other exclusions and irregularities that strongly link together these three special American variants; the sum accounts for approximately 70% (= 173/241) of all of the observed distinctive error conditions.

Other small exclusions in the other reproductions add to the overall token count for all 903 contrasts, but there are some occasions where there are distinctive errors even in these versions. Line number 204 in Table I (Download Excel File) acknowledges one such problem evident in one or more texts. Inspection shows that Buick, Speeches, and Orange3 used the token confederate instead of confederated in the last sentence of the preamble …to invite the confederate and independent chiefs of New Zealand to concur… (Buick, 1914, p. 99; emphasis added). Buick made no reference to his source — and in fact excluded the Done at Waitangi statement — but Speeches (McIntyre and Gardner, 1971, p. 119) cited “Journal and Appendix of the Legislative Council of New Zealand, 1869, pp. 69-71,” and Orange3 (Orange, 1997, p. 262) declared that Appendix 5 consisted of Waitangi and “the new translations printed in 1869 by order of the Legislative Council (from AJLC, 1869, pp. 69-71).”[31] Further, the token pre-emption in line number 387 of Hobson1 evolved into preemption or prëemption before returning to preemption for all texts from Attorney2 through Act2, while the simple element the (in the phrase in witness of which we have attached our signatures or marks at the places and the dates respectively specified [see Facsimiles of the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Waitangi, 1877, p. 7; emphasis added]) at line number 553 is only seen in the ten member Waikato-Manukau family of documents discussed earlier.[32]

Other small differences prevail. The word aborigines is replaced by aboriginies at line number 98 in Day2 alone, a rather surprising spelling error in a New Zealand federal document, even if the term is used more frequently in Australia. The style employed to identify Article headings modulates across variants, through the use of roman or Arabic numerals, or number words and the occasional incursion of the element the (see line number 219-223; 298-302; and 425-429 in Table I (Download Excel File)). The applications used art or article and i/1/first; ii/2/second; and iii/3/third. In Original and Online, the last two elements in those three sequences repeated the article number declaration: e.g., Original has in the first instance the string article the first article 1. In the published versions, the text headings actually specify Article the first [Article 1], Article the second [Article 2], and Article the third [Article 3], an interesting redundancy that appears only in the New Zealand entry in Constitutions of the Countries of the World and in New Zealand’s own on-line presentation for the English variant of Waitangi. Hobson’s official title unreliably appears in several forms at line number 182-183 and 468-469: it may be absent, or stand as lieut-governor, lieutenant governor, or lieutenant-governor. In that capacity, he was designated to act either over such parts of New Zealand or of such parts of New Zealand (see line number 184; emphasis added). Additionally, the all-inclusive cession by the Maori to the Queen was inconsistently to be made by the said confederation or individual chiefs, or by the said confederation of independent chiefs (line number 273-274; emphasis added). A significant twist to the meaning of this sentence — and especially perhaps to the administration of New Zealand — is caused by the use of the terms or independent chiefs, or individual chiefs, and of independent chiefs, particularly when it is remembered that over 500 Maori, in their signatory roles as sole sovereigns (line number 295-296), ceded these lands. Dealing with them collectively as a confederation would have been easier than conducting business with a collection of individual or independent chiefs. Report alone stated as long as it is their wish rather than so long as it is their wish at line number 352. Hobson2 and Hobson3, reflecting the immediate copying degeneration of Hobson1, replaced the term on at line number 422 with in in their phrase in that behalf instead of on that behalf that all other variants exhibit. Durie, in isolation, declared that we have attached our signatures or marks and the places and dates respectively specified at line number 553 instead of using the token at. Note, too, that this phase may also exhibit the string the dates at line number 557: the word is excluded from Hobson1, Hobson2, Hertslet1, State, Herstlet2, and Parry so that the extended statement in all others renditions consists of we have attached our signatures or marks at the places and the dates respectively specified.

A few conflicts based upon traditional English spellings are evident: favor vs. favour at line number 19; authorised vs. authorized at line number 93; and there of vs. thereof at line number 327-328. Further, in the signature section, Captain Hobson’s first name is reduced to the character W from William in four versions (Maori, Llengua, Original, and Online), and the day of signing is identified as the sixth instead of the 6th of February in Waikato-Manukau and related reproductions of this official English text of Waitangi (see line number 466 and 565, respectively).

Conclusions

As George Stanley, the famed Canadian historian, Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, and creator of the Maple Leaf national flag wrote (1936, p. 213; emphasis added): “In general, the treaty system, as a method of governing the relations between savages and civilized peoples, has not been an unqualified success. Native treaties, intended to preserve native rights, maintain peaceful relations and promote harmony between natives and frontier settlers, have been attended in North America, as well as in South Africa and New Zealand, by misunderstanding, racial hostility and, oftentimes, bloodshed. Hobson’s Treaty of Waitangi with the Maoris, Stockenstrom’s with the Kaffirs and those with the American Indians, although designed to meet different conditions, were all based upon the common assumption of free consent and the equality of the contracting parties. This assumption was unsound. The natives seldom understood the full implications of the contract. The disparity in power and interests between the signatories reduced the treaties to mere grants of such terms as the weaker people might accept without resistance, and such treaties were, accordingly, rather the preparatives and apology for disputes than securities for peace.” Such observations would suggest that the path and mechanics, beginning with the concept of consummating a treaty with an indigenous group, leave something to be desired, for all parties concerned. Waitangi, in other words, was no different from other such accords that had administrative problems.

Nevertheless, The Oxford English Dictionary advises that its first definition for the term mistake is “[a] misconception, or misapprehension of the meaning of something; hence, an error or fault in thought and action” (1989b, p. 895). This fount of the language also initially declared the token fraud to mean “[t]he quality or disposition of being deceitful; faithlessness, insincerity” (1989a, p. 152). Absent a few who might for very personal or political reasons debate the point, the disparities found among the tokens of the Waitangi variants examined through this study were mistakes and not manifestations of fraud: there were no catastrophic gaffes observable in any of these materials. Clearly, Captain Hobson was delegated by the British government to fashion a treaty with the Maori and in the process, instruments in Maori and in English were created. The fact that Hobson’s secretary, James Stuart Freeman, might have been more enthusiastic than smart about the way he created the so-called “royal style” Waikato-Manukau variant in order to impress his employers was not an expression of attempted fraud. It was a “fault in thought and action,” as was the document’s use to offer additional signature space at a conference conducted in Maori with tribal people unable to grasp the statements written in English above their marks. They were told the parameters in their own language, yet were held liable in many ways because of this unfortunate need for extra blank space. To repeat an earlier footnote, Doutré (2005, p. 27) declared that “[t]oday’s official English version has words like kingdom, favour, emigration, Europe, functionary, pre-emption, Ireland, Australia, forests, and fisheries in it, which are conspicuous by their absence in the Maori version.” Perhaps Ireland and Europe had limited weight, or that the concept of pre-emption was unknown to the Maori but Hawke’s case before the Waitangi Tribunal was driven by the need for enduring gathering rights, so fisheries would have been a significant token at that gathering at which Waikato-Manukau was signed (Report of the Waitangi Tribunal on a claim by J. P. Hawke and others of Ngati Whatua concerning the fisheries regulations, 1978). Subsequent legislation or adjudication concerning the contents of that certificate, or of any other rendering regardless of its language, is an issue that the New Zealand Legislature and court system have considered, and must continue to study, from the perspective of their nation’s citizenry. This is particularly so since English and Maori are now their joint official languages (Turner, 2011, p. 921). The creation of the Waitangi Tribunal to interpret, inter alia, the text differences between these endorsed versions is an instance of New Zealand’s proactive behavior in the effort to consider the needs of its entire people.[33] Other ex-colonies of Great Britain should take notice of — and begin to attend to — their equivalent responsibilities.”[34]

Proponents of text analysis, on the other hand, must show their allegiance to the elements of the instrument, notwithstanding the implications of the ensemble of tokens. This study — as with the ones investigating the Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc., 1851 (Bernholz and Pytlik Zillig 2009 and 2011; Laramie); the 1870 Okmulgee Constitution in the Indian Territory (Bernholz, 2011; Okmulgee); the Royal Proclamation of 1763 (Bernholz and O’Grady, 2012a; Proclamation); and the 1764 Plan for the future management of Indian affairs (Bernholz and O’Grady, 2012b; Plan) — excluded punctuation and capitalization so as to remove unnecessary noise from the suite of Levenshtein tests conducted to compare these materials. In collectively doing so, all these studies avoided in part the “one jot or one tittle” environment engendered by St. Matthew (see Carroll and Prickett, 1997, p. 7).[35] This adherence proviso was argued before the High Court of Australia to consider the legal effect of questionable punctuation in the Australian Constitution (Dalton v. New South Wales Crime Commission, 2006). While that appeal was dismissed, Chief Justice Gleeson’s opinion concluded with the remark that “[t]he foregoing reasoning is enough to sustain the order that I reach. But I propose that order mindful of an arguable constitutional flaw that the appellant elected not to argue. One day, I predict, it will return for fresh consideration” (p. 46).

Hobson copied his instructions of 14 August 1839 from Lord Normanby, the Secretary of State for the Colonies — “for the recognition of Her Majesty’s sovereign authority over the whole or any part of those islands which they may be willing to place under Her Majesty’s dominion” (Buick, 1914, p. 62) — into his preamble as the statement for the recognition of Her Majesty's Sovereign authority over the whole or any part of these islands (see line number 102-118 of Hobson1 in Table I (Download Excel File)). Constitutions — and treaties — are recognized by society as the law of the land, and are not supposed to be frivolous exercises in writing or to serve as easy mechanisms designed to dispossess indigenous peoples. Diplomacy recognizes this demand for a sense of good faith, honor, and truthfulness through the Latin declaration pacta sunt servanda — agreements must be kept.[36] Hobson, to his credit, did not wish to increase the chance of misunderstandings between the Maori and the British by misinterpreting a major premise of the Crown’s position on New Zealand. Rather, he applied his official orders to the task at hand.

Unfortunately, even with this care on Hobson’s part, the treaty materials suffered errors in reproduction. Setting aside the three disparities created by the appearances in Hobson2 of the supplemental notations signed at line number 465 and elements 512 signatures at line number 584-585 of Table I (Download Excel File), the remaining five differences between the official versions Hobson1 and Hobson2 are a jarring reminder that even early reproductions of official documents may contain textual problems. The immediate variability of the two versions — these vs. those; independent vs. individual; in vs. on; and the two element exclusion from Hobson1 of Victoria in at line number 117, 274, 422, and 490-491, respectively — reveals the issue of the legal status of the participating chiefs. Hobson1 stated The chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of sovereignty which the said Confederation or independent chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof (line number 224-297; emphasis added). On the other hand, Hobson2 declared The chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of sovereignty which the said Confederation or individual chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective territories as the sole sovereigns thereof (line number 262-297; emphasis added). The presence, in the two separately published collections of the February 1840 communication from Governor Gipps to Lord Russell, of the same suite of enclosed documents from which Hobson1 and Hobson2 were derived excludes the possibility that their individual Waitangi components were replicated from separate versions of the treaty’s text. Therefore, the pairs of bolded tokens in these two passages — independent and independent in Hobson1, and independent and individual in Hobson2 — may indicate that either the editor or the typesetter of Hobson1 simply expected the second term to be the same as the first, given the similar context of the passages. Ultimately and due to this error, readers of the Hobson1 variant are misinformed of the contents of the Waitangi instrument signed in 1840. This misfortune, though, is counterbalanced today by the ability to point directly to the Hobson1 text as the treaty’s source for the Webster, Senate1, and Senate2 proceedings of William Webster’s congressional claim: these three American documents share with Hobson1 the independent token at line number 274 in Table I (Download Excel File).

Thus, the two worlds of right and wrong texts are very frequently far from cleanly segregated; there are always opportunities to illuminate this smudging through their analysis. The general accuracy of these three and one-half dozen versions of Waitangi speaks volumes to the efforts placed on their printing by that profession. In a phrase, they got it right and the physical evidence of this pronouncement is reflected abundantly in the Levenshtein edit distance calculations presented here. Yes, there were errors in these reproductions of the fundamental document of the nation of New Zealand. Yet, these very faults may be used effectively to examine these materials: the observation that there are two distinct groups of documents pivoting on the date phrase Done at Waitangi this 6th day of February in the year of Our Lord 1840 at line number 561-580 of Table I (Download Excel File) leads to the conclusion that these resources ultimately evolved — one way or the other — from the English version of the 1840 treaty dispensed as the Waikato-Manukau Sheet. Regardless of the clear inconsistencies; regardless of the published disparities resident within the original writings of Hobson during his duty in New Zealand; and regardless of the controversy generated by the absent words of the Waikato-Manukau exemplar relative to the instruments in Maori, the Waikato-Manukau text remains important enough to the people of New Zealand to serve as their authoritative variant in the English language. The treaty, in either language, holds the future as well as the past.

What has also been reiterated in this study — given the previous success with the Laramie, Okmulgee, Proclamation, and Plan probes — is that making such Levenshtein edit distance measurements can support the determination of provenance; that they can fortify hypotheses regarding the comparisons of unreferenced texts or of documents with absent or inaccurate citations; and that they can expedite the identification of cogent families of materials that thereafter reinforce other inquiries into their collective geneses. Text analysis with this tool — through hard, element-by-element autopsies — can do all of these things and, in the process, can enhance the understanding of the lives of historical documents like the Treaty of Waitangi.

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Acknowledgements

We thank David C. Retter, Research Librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library in New Zealand, for permission to use the image of Captain William Hobson, painted in 1913 by James Ingram McDonald and now in the collection of Archives New Zealand. In addition, we thank Jonathan Newport of the Archives for furnishing a digital copy of the Waikato-Manukau variant of Waitangi. The assistance during this project of Laura Weakly and Karin Dalziel of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is gratefully acknowledged.

Appendix I

The Waikato-Manukau variant of the Treaty of Waitangi, 1840[*]

Her Majesty Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland regarding with her royal favor the native chiefs and tribes of New Zealand and anxious to protect their just rights and property and to secure to them the enjoyment of peace and good order has deemed it necessary in consequence of the great number of her Majesty’s subjects who have already settled in New Zealand and the rapid extension of emigration both from Europe and Australia which is still in progress to constitute and appoint a functionary properly authorized to treat with the aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of her Majesty’s sovereign authority over the whole or any part of those islands — Her Majesty therefore being desirous to establish a settled form of civil government with a view to avert the evil consequences which must result from the absence of the necessary laws and institutions alike to the native population and to her subjects has been graciously pleased to empower and to authorize me William Hobson a Captain in her Majesty’s Royal Navy Consul and Lieutenant Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may be or hereafter shall be ceded to her Majesty to invite the confederated and independent chiefs of New Zealand to concur in the following articles and conditions.

Article the first

The chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of sovereignty which the said Confederation or individual chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective territories as the sole sovereigns thereof.

Article the second

Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the chiefs and tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates forests fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual chiefs yield to her Majesty the exclusive right of preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective proprietors and persons appointed by her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.

Article the third

In consideration thereof her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the natives of New Zealand her royal protection and imparts to them all the rights and privileges of British subjects.

W Hobson, Lieutenant Governor.

Now therefore we the chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand being assembled in congress at Victoria in Waitangi and we the separate and independent chiefs of New Zealand claiming authority over the tribes and territories which are specified after our respective names, having been made fully to understand the provisions of the foregoing treaty, accept and enter into the same in the full spirit and meaning thereof in witness of which we have attached our signatures or marks at the places and the dates respectively specified. Done at Waitangi this sixth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.

*Source: Treaty of Waitangi (1840) [back]

Notes

*Phone: 402-472-4473
Fax: 402-472-5181
E-mail: cbernholz2@unl.edu [back]

**Phone: 402-472-2522
Fax: 402-472-5181
E-mail: bogrady1@unl.edu [back]

**Phone: 402-472-6866
Fax: 402-472-5181
E-mail: bzillig1@unl.edu [back]

1 Cohen (1998, p. 3387) describes Waitangi as an “historic site, in Bay of Isls., Far North dist., North Isl., N. Z. Site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed (Feb. 6, 1840). A natl. historic reserve on the N side of the Waitangi R., opposite Paihia on the S. side; and on the W. side of the Bay opposite Russell on the E. side. Property of James Busby (1833), purchased and presented to the nation by the Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, in 1932. Now part of the Bay of Isls. Maritime and Historic Park.” As will be seen, Busby served as the British Resident in New Zealand until the arrival of Captain William Hobson in 1840. [back]

2 See Van der Krogt (1984, pp. 55-73), especially his comments on the 1645 or 1646 Blaeu globe designated Bla 20 (p. 68) that state “[a]s a result of Tasman’s explorations, the cartouches containing the title and the dedication were taken away,” i.e., the previous “vacant spaces,” employed as handy sectors for informative descriptions, were replaced by representations of actual land masses. [back]

3 See Pickard (1999) for an interesting assessment of the agricultural aspects of supporting such a facility. [back]

4 Joseph Banks made “the most elaborate preparations for collecting and classifying objects of scientific interest” during Cook’s three-year voyage aboard HMS Endeavor (Andrade, 1960, p. 9). See Lyte (1980) for a full description of this “18th century explorer, botanist, and entrepreneur,” and of his activities as a member of that mission. In the same way, Banks contributed the plans for the ill-fated 1787 HMS Bounty botanical expedition to Tahiti, from which breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) saplings were to be collected and ultimately replanted in the West Indies. Banks had first seen and realized the value of breadfruit while on Cook’s Endeavor voyage in 1769. Cook had taken William Bligh, later Captain of the Bounty, as a junior officer during his third and final voyage in 1776 (pp. 175-176). [back]

5 As Herdendorf (1986, 43) remarked, “[t]he observation of the transits of Venus in the 1760s represents the first international scientific endeavour undertaken on a global scale. Although the English and the French took the lead in organizing the project, other nations sponsoring observations included Holland, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Portugal, and colonists in Canada, America, and India. The 1761 Transit of Venus was observed at over 60 locations throughout the then known world, including Europe, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and Canada. The results were inconclusive, but the prospects for obtaining more refined measurements for the 1769 transit were considered very good by the astronomers of the day.” The chance to observe this phenomenon also filled the popular press: The Gentleman’s Magazine had a note on the event, with reference to the geographical position of London instead of Tahiti, that was based on the predictions made earlier by Astronomer Royal Edmund Halley (Types and calculations of the transit of Venus, and the eclipses of the sun and moon, in 1769, 1768 and see Woolf [1956 and 1959, p. 161], who declared that “the trace of British activities in the history of the transits of Venus is more distinct than that of any other nation”). Halley had proposed that the determination of the parallax of the sun could be the product of a coordinated series of transit observations from sites around the world (see Of the sun’s parallax, 1760 and the translation, from Latin, of Halley’s 1716 paper on this recommendation: “And indeed I would have several observations made of the same phenomenon in different parts, both for further confirmation, and lest a single observer should happen to be disappointed by the intervention of clouds from seeing what I know not if those either of the present or following age shall ever see again; and upon which, the certain and adequate solution of the noblest, and otherwise most difficult problem depends. Therefore again and again, I recommend it to the curious strenuously to apply themselves to this observation”). Captain Cook and Charles Green, a former employee of the Greenwich Observatory, published their paired Tahiti transit observations — including their famous drawings of the “Appearances of Venus” — in 1771 (Cook and Green, 1771, the drawings face p. 410). For the transit in December 1882, the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Transit of Venus published Instructions for observing the transit of Venus, December 6, 1882 (1882) to prepare American scientific studies of the occurrence, including the proviso that “[a]ll members of the parties are prohibited from publishing their observations, or results, without authority of the commission; but this prohibition is not intended to prevent any general statements respecting the nature and success of the work which the observers may choose to make” (p. 50). [back]

6 The seventeenth century was no different in colonial New York (Trelease, 1960), or in Canada during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (Allen, 1993). [back]

7 House Concurrent Resolution 108 from August 1953 stated: “Whereas it is the policy of Congress, as rapidly as possible, to make the Indians within the territorial limits of the United States subject to the same laws and entitled to the same privileges and responsibilities as are applicable to other citizens of the United States, to end their status as wards of the United States, and to grant them all of the rights and prerogatives pertaining to American citizenship; and Whereas the Indians within the territorial limits of the United States should assume their full responsibilities as American citizens: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is declared to be the sense of Congress that, at the earliest possible time, all of the Indian tribes and the individual members thereof located within the States of California, Florida, New York, and Texas, and all of the following named Indian tribes and individual members thereof, should be freed from Federal supervision and control and from all disabilities and limitations specially applicable to Indians: The Flathead Tribe of Montana, the Klamath Tribe of Oregon, the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, the Potowatamie Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, and those members of the Chippewa Tribe who are on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, North Dakota. It is further declared to be the sense of Congress that, upon the release of such tribes and individual members thereof from such disabilities and limitations, all offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the States of California, Florida, New York, and Texas and all other offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs whose primary purpose was to serve any Indian tribe or individual Indian freed from Federal supervision should be abolished. It is further declared to be the sense of Congress that the Secretary of the Interior should examine all existing legislation dealing with such Indians, and treaties between the Government of the United States and each such tribe, and report to Congress at the earliest practicable date, but not later than January 1, 1954, his recommendations for such legislation as, in his judgment, may be necessary to accomplish the purposes of this resolution” (67 Stat. B132). [back]

8 These processes in nineteenth century New Zealand occurred even though evolving thoughts about such strategic decisions were stimulated by the 1837 Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Aboriginal Tribes (British Settlements) that had declared for both Australia and New Zealand that British “penal colonies have been the inlet of incalculable mischief to this whole quarter of the world” caused by “not less than 150 or 200 runaways at once on the island of New Zealand” (p. 15). [back]

9 See By the King, a Proclamation (1763) for the original, broadside presentation of this announcement. [back]

10 Of special interest is Hobson’s poor signature on this document, resulting from the disorder that he described in a 25 May 1840 letter to the Secretary of State for the Colonies: “”[u]nfortunately, on the 1st of March I was attacked with violent illness, occasioned by harassing duties and by long exposure to wet, which partially paralyzed my right arm and leg” (Copy of a despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Hobson to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1841/1970, pp. 137-139; emphasis added). [back]

11 For a post-Waitangi example, see the transaction dated 9 November 1861 — the Treaty with Sherbro — that affected today’s Sierra Leone and in which local chiefs “hereby cede, surrender, give over, and transfer from henceforth for ever unto Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, her heirs and successors, the full, entire, free, and unlimited right, possession, dominion, and sovereignty, in and over that piece or portion of Sherbo country commonly known as the Turtle and Sherbo Islands…” (Parry 1969c, p. 261). These islands are evident in the Atlas of Sierra Leone (1966, p. 6). Note as well that Sorrenson (1991) spoke of the Convention between Great Britain and Sherbro (The Gambia), signed at Plantain Island, 24 September 1825 (Parry, 1969a, pp. 379-383; emphasis added) as the possible strong exemplar from which Waitangi was taken: “So they wrote the English text in the treaty language of their day, adding very little that had not been spelled out in previous treaties, most notably the British-Sherbro agreement of 1825.” In particular and following a similar handover of “the full, entire, free, and unlimited right, title, possession, and sovereignty of all the territories and dominions,” the 1825 agreement guaranteed that “[the] native inhabitants of the aforesaid territories and dominions, and to their heirs and successors for ever, the full, free, and undisturbed possession and enjoyment of the lands they now hold and occupy” (p. 383). The parameters of Waitangi were similar to these passages from diplomatic endeavors fifteen years earlier. The 1825 Convention, however, went unratified. [back]

12 See Stenson’s chapter on “Fisheries and the Treaty” for summaries of important fishing claims brought before the Waitangi Tribunal (2004, pp. 111-121). [back]

13 Colenso contributed to the Waitangi signing literature through his “narration of events which happened on that memorable occasion” (1890, p. i). McKenzie (1985, p. 12) remarked that the earliest alphabet was “reduced to five vowels and nine consonants, with only two forms remaining unsettled, h and w,” but that “[t]oday the Maori language is written with five vowels, and ten consonants h, k, m, n, p, r, t, w, ng, [and] wh.” [back]

14 Hobson was sent to New Zealand to acquire the responsibilities of James Busby, the British Resident in New Zealand. Scholefield (1940, p. 125) remarked that “[i]t is greatly to Busby’s credit that his disappointment did not prevent his cordial cooperation with Hobson in drafting the treaty of Waitangi and negotiating its acceptance by the chiefs.” [back]

15 Ross (1972, p. 136) remarked that “[e]ven the date (or dates) in March when the Waikato names were added is unknown,” thereby adding even more to the overall confusion of the transaction. [back]

16 For example, Doutré (2005, p. 27) discerned “[t]oday’s official English version has words like kingdom, favour, emigration, Europe, functionary, pre-emption, Ireland, Australia, forests, and fisheries in it, which are conspicuous by their absence in the Maori version.” [back]

17 All are on display in the Constitution Room at Archives New Zealand in Wellington, and their images are available here. [back]

18 See Bell (2009) for a full analysis of Ross’s life and work. [back]

19 The materials for Littlewood have been reviewed recently by the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, and distributed online to provide “expert commentary in topics of importance to New Zealand” (see Butler, 2010). [back]

20 The early investigations of these instruments are discussed in Bell (2009). Further, this need for a Maori language assessment is especially clear now that McKenzie, in his study of oral culture and literacy among the Maori around the time of the signing of Waitangi (1985, p. 33; emphasis added), has remarked that “[o]ne English version sent to the Secretary of State was endorsed by [Henry] Williams, who said that it was ‘as Literal a translation of the Treaty of Waitangi as the Idiom of the Language will admit of.’ This cannot have been true, but a comparable disregard for strict textual accuracy in our own day has led to the inclusion of one of the unauthoritative English versions as a Schedule to the Waitangi Day Act (1960),” i.e., to that found in An act to provide for the commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (1960) and identified in this study as Day1 (see below). An added footnote to this remark stated: “To add insult to injury, the Maori text printed as the first schedule to the Act contains, in the second article, numerous misprints” (emphasis added). Moon and Fenton (2002, p. 61) examined Reverend Henry Williams’ translation of Hobson’s directives for the final Maori text. They were critical of that product: “In his position as the translator of the Treaty of Waitangi, Henry Williams’ role was anything but innocent. He was also a product of his time, his denominational affiliation, and the prevailing ideology. His translation reflected all three. His view of the world and that of his own position in it were the dominant factors in determining his translation strategy. In the final analysis they made Williams, the “father of all Maori” — the traduttore, a traditore, the translator, a traitor. Williams reshaped the text of the Treaty of Waitangi and changed one part of the world forever. He managed to bind two nations into a fateful union, which has been under pressure since its creation. Its continued survival will depend to a large extent on the question whether the mistranslations made by Henry Williams can and will be corrected to the satisfaction of the wronged party.” [back]

21 See “Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0” at http://www.w3.org/TR/xml/ and “XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 2” at http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt20/, respectively. [back]

22 This is available as “The Unicode Consortium” at http://www.unicode.org/. [back]

23 Tennison (2007) proposed the basic approach to an XSLT-based implementation of Levenshtein. [back]

24 Joseph also wrote a substantial chapter on the Treaty of Waitangi that touched all facets of its history and application in New Zealand (2007, pp. 45-101). [back]

25 Greenlee (1934) noted that it took eighty-five years for this Webster issue to be concluded. Nerinex (1926) described the final decision, in which the claim was rejected. [back]

26 Line number 1 is blank in all variants except Version (English version of the Treaty of Waitangi, 2012), which had the added element preamble. Rectangularization of the data required Table I (Download Excel File) to have this appearance, just as the last few lines of the closing (line number 561-588) necessitated adjustments. [back]

27 The test of Waikato-Manukau vs. Composite revealed just two errors, with a cumulative LED of seven bytes. These errors were from the replacement of the term favor with favour, and the incursion of the element signed before Captain Hobson’s name (see line number 19 and 465 in Table I (Download Excel File)). [back]

28 The Checklist of British Parliamentary Papers in the Irish University Press 1000-Volume Series, 1801-1899 (1972, p. 130) clearly points out the separate publishing chronology of sessional paper number 560 in 1840 from that of sessional paper number 311. [back]

29 A sequence of such signatures may be seen on the image of the controversial Waikato-Manukau variant presented by Archives New Zealand. [back]

30 The translation of the article’s title is The Maori language in the setting of colonization. [back]

31 A copy of Waitangi from the 1869 Legislative Council materials could not be obtained during this study. [back]

32 Buick also has this additional article the in its concluding paragraph. [back]

33 More than two decades ago, Hastings (1989, p. 671) discussed the “few, if any, exceptions to the principle that legislation is required to make a treaty part of domestic law.” One such case prevails in New Zealand, where “a directive from Parliament to the executive” has allowed that nation to entrench Waitangi into legislation so that the “principles” of that original instrument are not abrogated: “The effect of the provision is to make Crown breaches of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi actionable in a domestic court. It should also be noted that it is not a breach of the Treaty that is actionable; it is a breach of the principles of the Treaty to which the Act is directed. This potentially broadens the scope of an action against the Crown, and increases the importance of advice from the Waitangi Tribunal as to the meaning of the Treaty.” [back]

34 Language plagues other transactions, just as it does with Waitangi; see Duffié (1999, p. 49; emphasis added), who reiterated that “[f]or the New Zealand Maori, sovereignty disputes have arisen as a result of the incongruency between the Maori and English versions of the Treaty of Waitangi.” [back]

35 St. Matthew’s pronouncement was “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). [back]

36 Wehberg (1959, p. 775) began his commentary with the declaration that “[f]ew rules for the ordering of Society have such a deep moral and religious influence as the principle of the sanctity of contracts: Pacta sunt servanda.” Verzijl (1968, p. 244) expressed this in a similar manner: “… whereas a municipal legal order is erected on the command “You shall,” the international legal system rests on the undertaking “We shall.” Whenever those “We” break faith, their legal system also necessarily breaks down.” [back]